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‘Women are nearly a third of investors on Bahrain Bourse’

By Avinash Saxena on Gulf Daily News

09 March 2020

MANAMA: Women make up 29 per cent of total investors at Bahrain Bourse (BHB), and the value of shares held by them is currently BD580 million, Bahrain Bourse (BHB) chief operating officer Narjes Jamal has said.

In a statement issued yesterday after BHB hosted a bell-ringing ceremony to mark the celebration of International Women’s Day, the official said the total volume of shares held by female investors is 711m.

“As industry setters, we are hosting a variety of ring-the-bell events in order for all stakeholders to take action in achieving the goals of gender equality.”

According to Ms Jamal, across companies listed on Bahrain Bourse, women currently have 2pc board representation and 7pc hold CEO positions compared to 16.9pc and 4.4pc respectively on a global level.

“As a stock exchange, we are working alongside listed companies and industry professionals to take practical action in advancing gender equality through voluntary guidance documents, internal policies, training, mentoring, raising awareness, and educating market participants on gender equality and the role of gender diversity in enhancing business performance.”

“We aim to reinforce the importance of the role of females in executive and board positions across the capital markets, going in line with our efforts in promoting sustainability, in which ‘gender equality’ falls under the ‘social’ angle of sustainabilty,” she added.

Ms Jamal was joined by Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj and BHB chief executive Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa in ringing the market-opening bell.

BHB is partnering 81 other global exchanges for a week of bell-ringing activities for the second consecutive year, in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, the World Federation of Exchanges, IFC, UN Global Compact, UN Women to help raise awareness and highlight opportunities for the capital market ecosystem to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

The event was held for the sixth consecutive year globally. This year, the UN’s International Women Day was themed ‘I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights’.

Held throughout March, these bell-ringing events aim to raise awareness on women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

As part of the events, participants are encouraged to make commitments to improve gender equality in their markets, improving diversity in senior management and on the boards of directors, or improving transparency on gender policies and practices.

Last year, Bahrain Bourse announced its voluntary commitment towards the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative in promoting sustainable and transparent capital markets.

The SSE initiative focuses on sustainable disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

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